Written by Jason Schoolcraft
A Brief History
In 2012, after two years of planning and preparation, Rhode Island was going to get its own comic convention – an East Coast taste of what San Diego enjoys each year. It got off to a rocky start due to safety codes and its venue unable to contain all the people it would attract but, if anything, it showed how underserved we New Englanders were in terms of our fandom. The Rhode Island Comic Con was an instant hit and has grown exponentially ever since.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, 4:15 PM: I enter Ballroom 1 at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont and quickly take a seat next to my friend’s, Ron and Angela Urban. Those two always show up to panels and events early and get the best seats. The participants in this year’s costume parade were all lined up against the wall. The first thing I notice is how many kids there are. Usually, the Flashback Weekend costume contest kids division is lucky to have three or four entries. This year, however, they were a force to be reckoned with. But I’m getting ahead of myself here…
Who doesn’t love Paul Rudd? The seemingly ageless actor has been inspiring laughter for nearly two decades; long before joining the Avengers as Ant-Man. My family and I try meeting as many MARVEL stars as we can so when C2E2 (Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) announced Rudd as one of their featured guests it was one happy day at the Fuentes household. I immediately started working the necessary overtime while hovering over their website waiting for the tickets to go on sale. My diligence paid off and I bought ours (both photo op and autograph) just before they completely sold out. C2E2 would eventually add an additional day and I believe those were gobbled up as well. Was it worth paying more than a car payment to meet Paul Rudd?
What a time for comic book fans to be alive! Just this past week, the female-driven Captain Marvel joined the billion-dollar club while SHAZAM (the original “Captain Marvel”) hit theaters in his own fabulous film. In other news, Netflix’s binge-worthy “Umbrella Academy” got renewed for a second season while the creepy, yet original Joker trailer also dropped. Perhaps the biggest news in nerdom was how presale tickets for the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame managed to shut down movie sites unable to keep up with demand. So whenever you hear someone mention the phrase “superhero fatigue,” don’t say anything. Just casually walk away…and laugh. Continue reading
In many ways, attending the latest Horrorhound Weekend/MASK-FEST in Indianapolis was like a visit to an alternative Universe. For one thing, the huge gathering of horror buffs was taking place at an all-new venue; one that promised better parking and a larger layout to accommodate vendors and fans. For another, I was attending with a friend from Rhode Island who’d never done a Horrorhound Weekend before. Jason Schoolcraft joined me last year in Indy for Days of the Dead and assists me every so often with his “Killer Reviews.” We had a great time at “Days” and Jason loved having an opportunity to meet independent filmmakers which he hoped to continue to do at Horrorhound. For me, it was all about the masks.
The crowd hushed as WGN Radio personality, Nick Digiglio, took the platform. For as long as I’ve been attending Flashback Weekend it’s been his job to introduce Chicago’s local-gone-national TV horror host, Svengoolie, to the audience before the annual costume contest begins. It’s a fitting role for Digiglio as they’re genuine pals and Sven’s been a guest on his program numerous times. Whether delving into the illustrious career of his alter ego, Rich Koz, or dishing on their favorite horror films, it’s always a treat for us listeners. On this occasion, however, it was a one-man show as Sven replaced him on stage. The crowd broke into applause and for good reason. For us seasoned attendees, we knew we were in for an hour of imaginative costumes coupled with Svengoolie’s quick wit and banter.
10:20 am – We’re back in the main convention hall of the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) at McCormick Place. My daughter, Leia, and her friend, Rachel, take off on their own while my other daughter, Jade, heads over to Cosplay Central with me. This zone, designated for cosplayers, has space for their elaborate costumes, photo backdrops, and even panels on this topic throughout the weekend. The first thing that caught our attention was a tall monster that looks like a composite of Sil from Species, Giger’s ALIEN, and the Balrog from Lord of the Rings! I have no idea how someone even begins to create something like this let alone moves around in it! If you have any doubts about cosplaying being a legit artform, then I strongly urge you to come to C2E2 for some clarification. Continue reading